Fri | Jul 20, 2018

Strikes on IS-held city kill at least 20

Published:Friday | August 12, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Syrian activists said air strikes targeting the Islamic State group's de facto capital of Raqqa on Thursday killed at least 20 civilians, as neighbouring Turkey called for greater cooperation with Russia against the extremist group.

The offer by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu followed a meeting between the Russian and Turkish leaders in which they agreed to mend ties.

Cavusoglu also announced that his country will resume its airstrikes against IS targets in Syria, months after they were suspended amid a major row with Moscow. He said in an interview with Turkey's private NTV television that Ankara "will again, in an active manner, with its planes take part in operations" against IS targets.

Turkey had temporarily suspended its limited participation in the airstrikes campaign by the United States-led coalition, following soured relations with Moscow after Turkish air force jets downed a Russian warplane on the Syrian border in November. Russia had retaliated by deploying long-range air defence missile systems to its base in Syria, 30 miles south of the border with Turkey and imposing an array of economic sanctions.




"On the issue of Daesh, we have made a call to Russia. We said we have a common enemy which we can struggle against together," Cavusoglu said, using an Arabic language acronym for IS.

The local activist group Raqqa is being slaughtered silently meanwhile said the airstrikes on Raqqa killed at least 20 civilians and cut the city's water supply. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 24 civilians were killed, along with six others whose affiliation or identities could not yet be confirmed.

Both groups said the strikes were launched by Russian jets, though it was not clear how they made that determination. The Russian military said six of its long-range bombers had flown from their base in Russia to strike IS facilities near Raqqa, but did not mention civilian casualties. It said the raid destroyed a large ammunition depot, a plant producing chemical weapons and a large IS training camp.

Meanwhile, there was no letup in the embattled northern Syrian city of Aleppo, where Turkey and Russia are supporting opposing sides of the conflict and where residents and activists reported a chlorine gas attack.